If you need a rental car, you will want to get your hands on a great deal; this is especially true if you are looking for a last-minute rental. Many people need the luxury of planning ahead, and sometimes, plans come up last minute, which is why last-minute rentals are very common. 

However, last-minute prices are not always cheaper, and those who book ahead of time may receive better rates. Don’t stress because there are ways to get a good deal if you book at the last minute, and you can take advantage of the following hacks:

Book on the right day of the week

Some car rental agencies offer last-minute rates on certain days, and you can look into this to get a better deal. Car rental companies may have some last-minute rates they may want to upload for the coming week, and they may have great deals on a Tuesday, for example. This can help you save some money and is worth looking into. 

You should also note that some days will be a lot more expensive than others for picking up a car and this is especially true if you need to rent a car around holidays. Prices will be lower for pick-ups a few days before Christmas or Thanksgiving, but the closer you get to a holiday, the more you will have to pay. If your last-minute plans fall on a holiday, you may be unable to access cheap rates. 

Pick up and drop off your car rental at the right hour

Most car rentals are done in 24-hour hours, and you will pay the least when you pick up and drop off the rental car at the same time of day. Mismatched times will lead to higher rates, which is true even if it’s only by a few hours. You may run the risk of being charged for an entire additional day but picking up and dropping off at the right hour can save you money. 

Some rental car agencies do have a grace period and you can inquire about this fact if you can, however, try to schedule a pick-up time that matches your expected drop-off time to avoid additional fees. You can usually show up an hour or so ahead of your reservation time without facing a penalty or higher rates and you can make it work in this regard. 

Play the field

Don’t be scared to shop around and compare pricing. Every rental car agency offers different rates based on supply and demand, which will vary based on the date of your rental and the location. Look at different agencies and see if there are any discount codes or coupons you can use when reserving your rental. This can help lower the price of a last minute car rental, and a little bit of research can help you access last-minute deals on car rentals. 

Compare the prices for on and off-airport rentals

Car rentals near airport terminals are always more expensive because of the fees charged by airport concessions. There are no hard-and-fast rules, however, and if you are renting a car during off-peak times, airport agencies may offer you a great rate because they might have a lot of cars in the lot and will charge lower prices because they have more inventory to move. 

Don’t rule out airport rentals right from the start because you might be able to access a great deal, and this is why you should check both in-town and airport prices when reserving last minute car rentals. 

Do not show up without a reservation

Even if you have last-minute plans, do not show up without a reservation because this will likely cost more. Walk-up rates are available, which means you are welcome to walk into a car rental agency but you will likely receive a higher rate than what the reservations department has set. Additionally, you risk not finding a car because all the vehicles on the lot may be reserved for other customers. 

Additional Considerations

Do not forget about additional expenses. GPS systems and insurance are available for an additional fee, and you must consider these costs before you proceed to the check-in counter. You must be aware of all the expenses you’ll incur from your rental car, and you should check on prices for different factors, including gas mileage, extra fees for second drivers and charges for a GPS system. 

Some rental car agencies will allow spouses to drive for free while others won’t, and it’s up to you to ask questions to receive all of the right information. This will help you decide if there are additional services you’d like to add. 

You should also return the car with a full tank and be careful not to get on highways with tolls, as this will increase the price of your rental car. 

Lastly, consider enrolling in loyalty programs because most basic memberships are free, and you can access discounts and promotions unavailable to the general public. Becoming a member can also give you priority over another potential last-minute renter if there is a shortage of cars on the lot. 


Are you looking for great deals on last-minute car rentals? Expo Rent a Car can help! We offer cheap car rentals in Vancouver and always provide great deals to get you where you need to go. Whether you want to take off on a road trip or need to get to a meeting in a different city, you can rely on our car rentals and our cheap deals. 

If you are in the downtown Vancouver area, contact us at any time to learn more about car availability and our rates.